Fijian Holdings Limited has seen a boardroom coup during its board of directors meeting today.
FHL Chairman Isoa Kaloumaira, deputy chairman and deputy army commander Colonel Mohammed Aziz and managing director, Sereana Qoro, have been sent on leave for five days to make way for an audit on corporate governance.
It is not clear who will carry out the audit.
In a statement issued at 4pm today, acting FHL Chairman, accountant Iowane Naiveli confirmed the board of directors took the decision but claimed it would not affect FHL group operations.
More than a year ago, FHL managing director, Sitiveni Weleilakeba, was sacked in what can only be described as a boardroom coup or hostile takeover. Onto the Board came Colonel Aziz and Padam Lala, who was later appointed as chairman of Land Transport Authority as well. Sereana Qoro was appointed managing director to succeed Weleilakeba.
Throughout the week, there have been persistent rumours FHL would be given a shake-up because of its recent decisions. In December last year, FHL announced it was going to buy BP Oil Fiji operations for $190 million.
The deal has encountered numerous hurdles after FHL failed to secure a loan from a financier. Till last week, FHL has insisted the deal will go ahead and it had already paid a $20 million non-refundable deposit to BP Oil.
Sources say this has riled the interim regime, especially military commander and interim prime minister, Frank Bainimarama. The sacked FNPF Board also declined to find the transaction and FHL as looking for offshore funding. Sources say BP Oil's Fiji operations are valued at about $100 million and they don't understand why FHL would be willing to pay $90 million more than the maximum value.
In May, FHL sold its shares in Fosters Group Pacific Ltd for $40 million to Fosters. Sources say the only reason why anyone would sell what is regarded as blue chip shares is to secure funds for another deal or if the company is in financial problem.
At the beginning of this week, FHL announced that it wold build a $20 million complex known as Twin Towers for the headquarters of Fiji Police Force.
According to sources, it is ironical that those who engineered the boardroom coup and hostile takeover a year ago have become victims of the same action.